Friday, April 29, 2011

BREAKING Daily Dress: THE DRESS OF THE CENTURY OMG

Are you guys flipping out? Royal Wedding day!!! I'm not one of those people who got up at 4:00 in the morning to watch, but I was excited to see THE DRESS once I eventually roused myself from my beauty sleep. And goodness, it didn't disappoint, did it? People are rather astutely comparing to Princess Grace's dress. I found it refreshing to see a wedding gown with sleeves, since strapless has been so in vogue for the last decade. (Update: of course, she had to cover her shoulders for the cermemony, but I suppose I was expecting a strapless dress underneath some sort of cover-up.)

All sewists should definitely check out the description of the dress on the official Royal Wedding page, which goes into painstaking detail. The most fascinating part is the lace, no doubt. It was the star of the show on this gown, making up the overlay on the bodice, appliqued to the skirt, and even to the silk tulle underskirt.

The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace.  The lace design was hand-engineered (appliquéd) using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s.  Individual flowers have been hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock. 

And if that weren't detailed enough, you can also read about how often the workers washed their hands and their ages.
The Royal School of Needlework (RSN), based at Hampton Court Palace, assisted the Alexander McQueen team in accurately cutting out the delicate motifs from the lace fabrics and positioning the lace motifs with precision into the new design. The lace motifs were pinned, ‘framed up’ and applied with stab stitching every two to three millimetres around each lace motif. The workers washed their hands every thirty minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours, to keep them sharp and clean. . . . The RSN workers included existing staff, former staff, tutors, graduates and students, with the youngest aged 19.
It was very nice getting to read a description that goes into such specific detail about sewing technique and materials. For example: The body of the gown was made of satin gazar, a smooth crisp silk. The wedding site also goes into the various inspirations for the gown, saying "The ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs." Padded hips? Interesting!

I'll end by saying I'm so glad she went with a female designer. This is going to make Sarah Burton the big designer to watch; rumors are flying that she's the top pick to succeed Galliano at Dior. Congrats, Ms. Burton!

79 comments:

  1. I loved it so much! And I also loved Pippa's dress

    ReplyDelete
  2. it is SO gorgeous. OMG, I can't believe they washed their hands every thirty minutes. Wow. And thank you for the link to more info on the dress, what a great read.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the link to the dress site, Gertie. In another life, I'll be studying at the Royal School of Needlework... love it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. IMHO - this dress will give a lot of bridal shops in the US huge headaches - how many bridal shops have any gowns with sleeves, much less a gown such as this one? And you know that the phones are ringing off the hooks this morning with engaged girls saying, "I want Kate's wedding dress!" Now, having said that, I think that this will be something only popular in the US in the fall, spring and winter - can you see girls choosing this dress for a wedding in Florida or North Carolina in the summer? I don't think so. But, it might finally give girls the idea that something with a sleeve and an interesting neckline is an option they should consider, which is a huge change.

    ReplyDelete
  5. the dress is a classic! contrary to Diana's that was so dated.... and Pippa's dress too, so beautiful!!!

    But, I do believe the dress needed to have sleeves. I know most times when stepping into a church like this, you aren't aloud to have sleeveless... (am I wrong)...

    either way. beautiful. classy. perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The dress was stunning! I wish she wasn't wearing the veil, so I could see the back detailing better...
    I thought Pippa's dress was the wrong way around - would've looked fabulous with a plain front and a cowl-back, I think!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was just commenting to my 28-yr. old daughter last week about how sleeveless bridal gowns have become SOOO boring. Seems every bride has been wearing virtually the same dress. Is there no creativity using some sleeve design, illusion neckline, something different? Kate's beautiful gown did the trick. It's gorgeous. It reminded my daughter of my gown. I was flattered. I hope Kate's look brings on some new neckline treatments in the bridal gown industry!

    ReplyDelete
  8. She definitely wore that dress and not vice versa! So many of those royal dresses overpower the women who wear them. She looked stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I too missed most of the live coverage, having pushed the snooze button a few too many times this morning, but I did catch when everybody came out on the balcony and the couple kissed for the crowd. I LOVE all the lace! And the neckline! Kate looked so classy. I've seen a lot of wedding dresses with that kind of lace sleeves and they can look old fashioned and stuffy, but she looked fresh and pretty. Just how I'd imagine a girl becoming a princess to look!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I absolutely love her gown and the detail to which it was described!

    Long before we saw Kate's dress, I really wanted to have long lace sleeves (or 3/4 length) and a lace neckline on my wedding dress for our potentially chilly October wedding(I wanted a sapphire ring before she got one, too. Guess I have good taste :) I think lace on the bodice, neckline, and arms is so elegant. Except for a few $5000 + gowns, nary a long-ish sleeve to be found. Everyone kept telling "we can add sleeves to any dress" which I guess is true, but not the same as a dress conceived with sleeves. Now there will be plenty to choose from (though I already have--and love-- my dress...). Yay Kate and Wills!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so glad you featured this today. I was hoping you would. She was stunning! That dress!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I LOVED her gown from the first moment I caught a glimpse of it - and that was when she was still sitting in the car! I think it's just SO elegant, regal, and modern, all at the same time. Loved, loved, loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Curious: was she required to wear sleeves out of tradition at Westminster? I've heard of some faiths/churches requiring sleeves on brides. This is a beautiful, understated gown. I thought she would go a little sleeker with the skirt, but it is a royal wedding, so what did I expect?

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for the link to the details of the dress, loved reading it! The British know textiles. Love all the references to hand made, the shoes? Awesome though not trying to make shoes anytime soon.

    ReplyDelete
  16. It is seriously beautiful! Gosh! Is it OK that I'm just a tiny bit jealous that I didn't have that dress or a fairy tale wedding when I got married? It is truly a stunner! Real classic beauty. Love!

    xoxo,
    Sunni

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sleeves! Thank goodness, a design detail that's not strapless! So over the strapless wedding dress, they all look the same! This dress was so lovely, I really hope it starts a trend.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It just makes me so happy that they veered away from the boring strapless a-line princess dresses that are everywhere now. (Not that it's allowed in that church) I saw one episode of "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC and it was the same strapless A-line dress over and over and overrrrrr.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I absolutely love it! I think the lace is my favourite thing about it :)
    Ashley x

    ReplyDelete
  20. I loved it, especially as I correcty predicted it would be a strapless bodice with lace sleeves! So elegant and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would imagine that sleeveless would be a big no-no in the abbey! They may be modern royals, but not *that* modern, gosh!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I knew it would have sleeves of some sort and I was blown away this morning. Traditionally, a church wedding dictated that the woman cover at least her shoulders, and being royalty, I assumed that she would follow tradtion. What a wonderful dress and the details released are amazing.

    I'm so glad that I don't make wedding dresses for a living. Too many brides are going to want this made for $200 or so. I had a woman who wanted Forest Green Satin dresses all Scarlett O'Hara'd up with black lace crinolines. She tried to convince me that her friend had "identical" dresses made for less than $200. Um, black lace alone for a full crinoline would have been nearly that much, let alone the satin, boning and all the other items to make these dresses.

    ReplyDelete
  23. i read about the lace and swooned a little bit. i visited a lace museum in belgium, i think in bruges, and got to watch lacemakers. fascinating! i would love to learn, someday, in my copious spare time. what a time they must have had, constructing this dress.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Personally I just love that all the dress prediction bits that have been on TV all week were so thoroughly wrong. They were suggesting sleek mermaid style.

    Yay for lovely surprises.

    The dress is beautiful (oh I love lace), not over the top, and she wore it so well.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Gertie - I was hoping you would post about this dress and you didn't disappoint! Hurray for the Daily Dress!
    - Liz

    ReplyDelete
  26. http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v2979-products-7971.php?page_id=186
    Princess Grace style dress pattern that has been in Vogue for a few years. Easily modified.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Makes me want to get married all over again! Loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Loved the dress!
    But how about some comments on some of those amazing hats? That's the best part of early weddings!

    ReplyDelete
  29. THE dress was simply devine, and I too can only hope it leads wedding dresses back to some designs with sleeves and necklines.

    But the dress that truly took my breath away was Pippa's. Oh my. I want it (and her figure).

    ReplyDelete
  30. My local sewing shop recreated the dress live on webcam/in the shop. I couldn't find a direct link, but found this blog post with a mid-creation picture. http://kitschycoo.blogspot.com/2011/04/so-cool-even-non-royalists-would.html

    ReplyDelete
  31. I thought it was a little too low cut, but still very beautiful. I have my own read on it too. It's fun to read everyone's opinions.

    ReplyDelete
  32. It was beautiful, but dull.

    ReplyDelete
  33. oh! Just found your blog thru a tweet...I like it! I went a bit crazy for the hats myself!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thank you for the post really intersting about the lace.

    ReplyDelete
  35. That is certainly some detailed work, but it was worth it... she looked wonderful and what a great choice of dress.

    ReplyDelete
  36. OMG - The dress was so beautiful, and so was Kate! Oh, I was one of the wackos that got up to watch it live before going to work!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love this! Thanks for all the details!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I think the dress was just amazing. The row of buttons down the spine and at the wrist, the way the train draped and the folds in the skirt. Wow. I love the timeless design of it - it's not going to date like Diana's and the tiara complemented it beautifully. For me though, the real wow factor was the neck line and the way the lace and collar framed her face - just beautiful.
    On the flip side, my husband questioned the bust darts inadvertently by making the comment that she appeared a bit "nipply" before she entered the abbey!
    As a Brit we've had the wedding on all day and I wish them both well.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I wish I had a picture of it online, but my Mom's wedding gown had a similar collar and neckline, and had long sleeves as well. My Great Grandma and Grandma sewed the dress themselves, and hand appliqued the lace onto themselves. I was planning on wearing the dress to my own wedding (if I ever got married), but sadly it burned in a house fire. :(

    Because that dress was always what I wanted for a gown, I've never seen anything that I've liked even half as much, especially with all the generic sleeveless dresses out there. I can't tell you how pleased I am to see a beautiful long sleeved dress worn by someone younger than 50. Not all of us likes sleeveless! :)

    Thanks for making this the (obvious) dress of the day!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I cannot even put into words how lovely I thought the dress was and how amazing Catherine looked and performed. It is un-imaginable to think of the pressure to do things just right and be so poised and elegant as she was with so much tradition to follow and so many people judging her performance.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Whoops! That was supposed to say that my Great Grandma and Grandma hand appliqued the lace onto the dress themselves. They didn't applique lace onto themselves!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Ah, what a stunning event!!! I love both Catherine and Pippa's dresses. Where I live the ceremony was on at 8 pm last night - so we all got together to have dinner and watch - we certainly weren't disappointed!

    One thing we kept noticing though - was the HUGE hats some of the ladies attending the wedding ceremony were wearing. Seems a little rude to block the view of the people behind you with such a large accessory!

    But when I saw Will mouthing the words 'You look so beautiful' as they met at the altar... ah, my heart just melted.

    ReplyDelete
  43. The dsress was beautiful and I too am pleased it is likley to lead to more dresses with sleeves.

    But Pippa's, just wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I loved the gown as did my 9 year old who has known her mind about clothes and shoes since before she could talk! I loved the work in the dress and wondered about the techniques so thank you for the link. I also want to say thanks for being so happy for other's success. It makes reading your blog even more enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I thought she looked stunningly beautiful. Such a classic, clean look. I disliked Dianna's dress because it was so OTT. I don't think Kate's dress would have looked as beautiful as it did if it didn't have the sleeves - the sleeves and the cut of the lace around the neck and shoulders are the features that make this dress.

    She looked lovely! Even though my husband thought her sister looked better..... what's with that?! Her sister's dress was beautiful too. I like the classic, clean elegance of both the dresses.

    And just to second a comment above re large hats - did anyone checkout Princess Eungenie's hat? OM Goodness! You wouldn't be able to see a thing sitting behind that!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Diana was a very statuesque woman. She could easily carry off the huge sleeves, bows and ruffles plus the enormous cascading bouquet. Catherine is very petite and needed a sleeker gown and small bouquet. Since maybe some of yall are too young to remember, royal wedding gowns never follow the current fashions. Rather, they set the fashion. And there will never be a sleeveless gown with a fitted skirt or minimalist styling.

    ReplyDelete
  47. A very beautiful dress -- reminiscent of Grace Kelly definitely and also with a little reminder of 'our' Princess Mary of Denmark (I like how Australians own Mary more than our own Monarchy, ha!) in the simple and classic beauty. No frou-frou like the 1981 dress of Diana Spencer. Kate/Catherine's dress will certainly not date in photos.

    I have only had a glimpse of her second Alexander McQueen dress that she wore for the evening reception. Anyone have a good picture of that?

    I saw an interview with a designer who said he would be watching the wedding with a sketch pad so he could successfully recreate the dress in 24-48 hours. Goodness me!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Oh, I meant to say that although I thought Pippa's dress was lovely I thought giving her a dress that was hard to walk in was perhaps a little unfair -- she seemed to be shuffling along a bit awkwardly.

    And I think the most romantic touch, in my mind, was that in her bouquet she had a flower called 'Sweet William'. Ahhhhh.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Answering my own question, here is a site that shows some good views of the second dress:
    http://www.celebuzz.com/2011-04-29/kate-middleton-stuns-in-second-alexander-mcqueen-dress-photos/

    Looks like a faux-fur cropped cardigan over a strapless satin gown with a silver beaded belt?

    ReplyDelete
  50. Kate looked stunning and the gown totally fitted her: beautiful and understated. I loved it. She must have the tiniest waist I have ever seen in a girl, and that dress was perfect for her.

    Now, on another note... I'm still trying to figure this one out: http://www.celebuzz.com/2011-04-29/royal-wedding-hats-2/royal-wedding-wedding-guests-and-party-make-their-way-to-westminster-abbey-13/

    ReplyDelete
  51. Thanks for posting, it truly was a stunning dress and very much Kates style and suited her beautifully.....as for the sleeves, every Royal bride has to have their arms covered and her tiara was her "something borrowed" from the Queen, it was a 1936 Cartier tiara......I think they planned the wedding really well. It had all the tradition that the Royal family requires mixed seamlessly with their own personal touches.....I especially liked the old Aston Martin car they left the palace in, open topped, with "just wed" on the back and the traditional things tied to the back......just what every young 'normal' couple does.....it was a fab day

    ReplyDelete
  52. It was a lovely wedding, they all looked great but Kates dress was absolutely spot on, elegant and classy. Very Kate!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I have been soooo into this wedding! She looked stunning

    ReplyDelete
  54. Am I the only one that's dissapointed? Don't get me wrong, the dress is gorgeous. The intricate lace details are stunning both for their symbolism and the quality of craftsmanship.
    Here's the bit that dissapoints: coming from the House of McQueen it's a bit blah. Just an ordinary dres fit for a princess. I expected more, much more!

    ReplyDelete
  55. Very classic, and I also liked her 'costume change' http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/30/3204224.htm
    That train would have been murder, lucky she had her insanely gorgeous sister Pippa there to help her out. And wasn't Kate nice to give Pippa such a pretty dress, instead of something frou-frou and peach.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I adored the dress! It was very regal and classic but with a modern twist. And the veil was a stunner too!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Great to read about how it was made. Integrating the plants of different UK nations into the lace isn't a new idea, apparently - take a look at this amazing video of past royal wedding dresses up close. Swoon!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Really extraordinary dress! SO beautiful - instant classic, right? And thanks for pointing out the RSN - I'll be signing myself up for classes asap!

    ReplyDelete
  59. I don't understand why people are surpised that she had long sleeves - this is for a wedding in Spring in the UK! No sleeves would have been a shock considering our normal temperature this time of year.
    I loved the dress, very traditional and just right. As somebody else here said, she wore the dress rather than the dress wearing her.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I loved her dress and I love your blog, which I just found. Thank you for the insight and the links!

    ReplyDelete
  61. I think she looked lovely! It was elegant and quite refreshing to see a bride not look like a mermaid!LOL Her sister's gown was beautiful and elegant as well, it fit her beautifully!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Beautifully made, demure, and the most lovely silhouette for this lovely woman. Actually, I don't see a lot of brides going for this one. It's not "sexy" enough for current tastes (thank God).

    ReplyDelete
  63. The only part of the wedding I was interested in seeing was the dress. It did not disappoint. I thought it was flattering and beautiful. I like simple, so I didn't think it was dull, but even if it had been a bit dull, it won't date like Diana's did.

    I was thrilled to see sleeves. Sleeveless and strapless are all right for those that like them, but I haven't seen many gowns, formal or wedding, with sleeves lately. I'd like to see more. It seems like it would be more of a design challenge to include sleeves than not.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I loved her dress, the tradational, simple elegance. In 1989 I wore a lace & taffeta gown from Jessica or Scott McClintock that was very similar. I, too hope to see more wedding gowns with sleeves. Her sisters dress was perfection also; when she carried the train, it was like an extension of her dress, lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  65. The dress was a much simpler than I had expected to see! But absolutely perfect for the new princess! She looked gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Outstanding, wonderful, perfect.
    That is all I can say. It does not get any better than this, great future for the designer as well.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Jane Elise mentioned a Danish designer doing a replica of Kate's dress. In fact, Lasse Spangenberg, as the designer is called, and his team had only 5 hours to make it, so that they were able to show it live during a Danish talkshow the same evening. Previously this week, Danish girls had submitted pictures of themselves for a Kate Middleton look-a-like contest, where the winner would be modelling the replica of Kate's dress. She then got to keep it afterwards. Here's a still from the talkshow: http://i2-images2.tv2net.dk/i/63/24249463-59d585f68ea95ab70e60864ee99dc206.jpeg

    While you can tell that they didn't have time to do proper fitting and stuff, I think it's stunning what the design team achieved in just 5 hours. The designer mentioned that it would normally take his team about a month to make such a dress, especially due to the numerous fittings needed.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Oh, snap! The link for the image doesn't seem to work. This one, albeit ridiculously long, oughtta work:
    http://www.google.dk/imgres?imgurl=http://i2-images2.tv2net.dk/i/63/24249463-59d585f68ea95ab70e60864ee99dc206.jpeg&imgrefurl=http://go.tv2.dk/aftentv/&usg=__73YUQrQiYV_P24WxwOy4rLJb494=&h=576&w=1024&sz=131&hl=da&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=hsev4BeT7SLSlM:&tbnh=93&tbnw=166&ei=DCy8TZa9IKew4AagudT0BQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dgo%2Baften%2Bdanmark%2Bbrudekjole%26um%3D1%26hl%3Dda%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:da:official%26biw%3D1024%26bih%3D578%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=101&vpy=303&dur=126&hovh=168&hovw=300&tx=168&ty=157&page=1&ndsp=8&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0

    ReplyDelete
  69. I hope now that wedding dresses will be simpler and elegant, not those overly puffed, pleated, gathered and beaded dresses that are everywhere. I also hope this will do away with strapless.

    John

    ReplyDelete
  70. On the second dress, that is not a fake fur bolero. It is an angora cardigan.

    ReplyDelete
  71. My late mother married in 1959 and she had a similar dress with lace sleeves, that her mum a dressmaker made. Here in Australia, girls have been wearing strapless dresses for years, and they only look good if you have great shoulders and no pimply back. I believe a summer version with short lace sleeves or shorter sleeve will be popular in hotter weather. Hopefully this will change the trend in bridal fashion.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I think that the lace effect an be easily recreated on a strapless dress by wearing a fitted lace "jacket" which is nice as it can then be taken off if you get too warm - which is not likely to happen in westminster abbey!

    ReplyDelete
  73. I just want to know how the train was made and attached. It was so Alexander McQueen! Bustle-ish!

    ReplyDelete
  74. Katherine is said to be 5'10" tall and William 6'3" so they must be even more dramatic looking in person.

    The first thing I noticed when she stepped out of the car was how tiny her waist looked. She is very slender, but I hadn't noticed that before, so when I read about the padded hips, I figured that was the explanation: it's the contrast. I read on some of the British web sites that Alexander McQueen was interested in Victorian clothing and padded hips were common then. I have also read that Dior padded hips for his New Look. In both time periods, there was a lot of emphasis on a small waist.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Kate looks very beautiful , I love the dress. William you made your very proud today. Pippa you look very pretty too. I really enjoy watching the wedding over and over. Take care guys and have a wonderfull life together.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Did anyone see Pippa's dress for the evening reception? If her bridesmaid dress got her bottom it's own appreciation page on facebook, this one will...anyway. I love her second dress. Both girls did so well with both dresses. Very savvy.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/royal-wedding/royal-wedding-pictures/8485082/Royal-wedding-Prince-William-and-Kate-attend-reception-at-Buckingham-Palace.html?image=3

    ReplyDelete
  77. This post was very stunning and awesome. I really love Kate Middleton. She is one of a kind. You did a good post. Thank you for sharing.


    Michelle

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

© Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. Powered by Cake